After each gameweek, Joseph Crilley is going to be writing an article reviewing all the Premier League games from a fantasy perspective. He will be providing some stats and a brief summary on the performances and prospects of a few of the players. This is the fantasy premier league GW26 review. Last year, Joseph finished with an overall rank of 13k.
FANTASY PREMIER LEAGUE GW26 REVIEW
For each game, I will be providing a stats table containing the following: Goals (G), Assists (A), Shots (S), On Target (OT), Key Passes (KP), Bonus points (BP) and fantasy points (FP). Any statistic highlighted in yellow signifies that the player leads that category for his team. Blue highlight shows the players that registered a fantasy return (goal, assist or clean sheet) and green shows any player that scored 10+ points.
The tables also include the Expected Goals and Expected Assists for each individual player. This is in addition to the expected goals for each team in brackets within the scoreline. BBC Sport provided a very useful piece to help explain this statistic. Essentially each shot is given a score between 0 and 1 as to how likely it is to go in the net. For example, suppose a shot taken from inside the box is worth 0.56; this will be added to the xG tally of the player who take the shot and added to the xA of the player who passes the ball to him. All underlying stats are from the brilliant website understat.com. References to average position come from the twitter site 11tegen11.
The stats tables are all available via the following google spreadsheet link and I will speak about a few key players during the gameweek.
A rare day of frustration for the league leaders and owners of their assets alike in the lunch time kick off on Saturday as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor. That means that it’s just 1 clean sheet in the last 5 after they conceded a late equaliser; Otamendi’s returns have, naturally, suffered as a result. He was partnered alongside Kompany as Pep showcased that rotation is possible at centre back, though Otamendi appears to be first choice and is thus the least susceptible. Many managers will be holding for the Leicester game next week, but fixtures against Arsenal and Chelsea will follow so it may be tempting to move away from City defenders then.
Things may have been different had Sterling not inconceivably missed a guilt-edged chance from a couple of yards out at 1-0; it would not be exaggerating to call it the miss of the season. That chance along with 4 shots helped the young winger to a high xG score of 1.28 and it is certainly not the time to lose patience with him. It’s a similar story for the consistent De Bruyne who created 4 chances and had 3 shots of his own.
Aguero was a very popular captain options, especially near the top of the standings and among FFG contributors, but unfortunately, he blanked for the first time in 2018. He had high expected scores thanks to 3 shots and 3 key passes, but nothing to show for it; I’m intrigued to see if owners will show faith in him again and captain him against Leicester.
A rather strange game at Old Trafford from an FPL point view, not least when looking at the teamsheet. Jones was absence with a rumoured illness which means he missed out on the inevitable clean sheet, United’s 15th of the season. He has been their key defender all season, so it would be a surprise to see him dropped after just one performance and he should be back for the trip to Newcastle next week.
The biggest shock was the omission of Pogba from the starting Xi, though he did make an appearance from the bench. Previously, the Frenchman has been assured of strong minutes in any game that he is fit for, so it was certainly a surprise. Perhaps the team is being built around new signing Sanchez instead now who put in a strong statistical performance. He had 6 shots and 3 key passes with an impressive xG score of 1.47 to go along the second goal. Unfortunately, that goal was a rebound from his own missed penalty and a lack of bonus meant a return of just 5 points. Nonetheless, that was better than Lingard who blanked for the 4th game in succession and was withdrawn early again.
Lukaku scored the opening goal which means that he has returned in 3 of the last 4 games, but the lack of double-digit scores means that he is still not particularly in the thoughts of managers.
Before I comment on the impressive performance from the Gunners, I would like to add the caveat that they face Spurs and City in the next two weeks, so I would probably hold off on their assets until GW29. That does not take away from a great attacking display with the undoubted star of the show and the gameweek being Ramsey who scored his first Arsenal hat-trick. His late runs into the box caused issues for the Everton defence and he converted all three chances that came his way.
He was ably supported by new signing Mkhitaryan who had a hat-trick of his own, but with assists rather than goals. The Armenian also had 2 shots and appears to have a new lease of life after his transfer away from Man U. Fellow new boy and old colleague Aubameyang scored on his debut and looks set to be another option for our forward lines.
There are still defensive issues as another game passed without a clean sheet, though all the defenders are showing some recent attacking form at least. It was Koscielny’s turn to get on the scoresheet after the exploits of Monreal who was withdrawn with a slight injury. If they can start picking up clean sheets, then there could be some good options in the Arsenal backline for GW29 onwards.
An entertaining game at Anfield ended in rather hectic fashion as Spurs came back twice to earn a point. Unfortunately, there wasn’t many FPL points on offer; all of the popular midfield assets blanked though Son did miss one great opportunity. After a couple of tough games, the upcoming schedule looks rather positive, so managers may look to hold on for now.
It was a rollercoaster game for those that captained Kane who missed a penalty, only to convert the second spot-kick awarded; it all added up to a slightly disappointing total of four points. The striker had 5 shots in total to register the highest xG score of the gameweek and he’ll be eying up the North London derby next weekend, a fixture that he loves to score in.
It will be interesting to see how Alderweireld fits back into the side; I expect him to play in the FA cup replay on Wednesday against Newport County, so there’s a chance that he is back for the Arsenal game. Will Spurs revert to three at the back or will it be a straight swap for Sanchez?
What more is there to say about Salah, another two goals for the Egyptian to break through the 200-point barrier. It was his 11th double-figure of the season; an unbelievable statistic considering he has played just 25 games so far. His second goal came from a wonderful dribble inside the Spurs box and highlighted his ability to create a goal out of nothing. The winger had 4 shots in total and had a couple of opportunities to pick up an assist, only for his weight of pass to let him down. He has proven himself to be fixture proof as well with his returns in big games and is a great captain option every week; if you don’t, any return could cause your rank to deteriorate.
It was quieter game for the also popular Firmino who had just one headed shot that went wide and failed to create a single opportunity. As a result, it’s just two goals in the last six gameweeks for the Brazilian. However, Liverpool are one of only four sides with a game during GW31 as of now, so it’s worth holding if you don’t plan on using your free hit then. You should make sure to check out FFG’s article about the blank and double gameweeks as it provides all the information required.
At the back, Liverpool defended well for around an hour, but struggled as fatigue began to set in. Van Dijk showed some attacking threat again with two headed opportunities for an xG score of 0.21 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bag a couple of goals before the end of the season. It will be interesting to see if Robertson can hold off the returning Moreno as he is a nice option at 4.7mil with some kind home fixtures coming up.
A shocking result for Chelsea on Monday night as they enjoyed an unpleasant trip to Watford. Alonso surprisingly failed to even make the squad for what was described as ‘precautionary’ reasons; to me, that sounds like he’ll be back for the next game at home to West Brom. Therefore, I’d be happy to hold one more week and then perhaps assess the situation with trips to the Manchester clubs in successive games. The Chelsea defence suddenly looks very vulnerable; after a run of 6 clean sheets in 7 games, they have now conceded 7 goals against Bournemouth and Watford.
The only consolation for Chelsea and some FPL managers was a lovely goal from distance by Hazard, though that was his only shot of the contest. He was joined on the pitch by January signing Giroud in the second half and created one opportunity for his new teammate.
There were some intriguing performances from cheaper midfielders in this gameweek, so I thought that I would group them together. Shaqiri was a popular transfer in the previous week and repaid the faith shown in him with his first ever headed league goal. He also created 3 chances and has a nice fixture next week at home to Brighton.
Speaking of the Seagulls, Gross finally found some form again with a goal and assist along with some underlying stats. He had 5 shots and 4 key passes, but his side are coming towards the end of their nice run of fixtures.
A cheap player who is about to start a good string of matches is Gudmundsson who has been mentioned a few times in these articles due to his good starts. He scored his 2nd goal in 4 matches against City and created three chances; at a low price of 5.0mil, he could worth consideration as a 5th midfielder for the remainder of the season.
Similarly priced, Ibe picked up an assist and had a good xG score of 0.61 after 3 shots on goal. However, at an even cheaper price of 4.3mil, McArthur at Palace had 4 shots and 2 key passes; his place is looking secure and is good bench fodder, especially as he will likely have a fixture in GW31.
The final player that I want to mention is Ward-Prowse who claimed a double-figure haul thanks to a goal and an assist. He actually has the best FPL form of any midfielder; not even Salah can beat his total of 37 points in the last 4 weeks.
After some dreadful form in recent weeks, Watford bounced back with the aforementioned victory over Chelsea to present us with a couple options. Deulofeu announced his return with a goal and assist in an exciting display with a price tag of 6.0mil on his head. At even cheaper 5.3mil, Doucoure picked up 2 assists and has returned points rather consistently over the season; he averages over 4 PPG so far. Watford are another team that are guaranteed to play in GW31, but they do face a tough trip to Anfield.
I’m not quite sure what is going on at Everton currently as they just cannot stop leaking goals. Kenny did play this week, but I suspect we won’t see much of him over the rest of the season now Coleman is gaining match fitness. Bandwagon for this week, Walcott, failed to score on his return to Arsenal, but had one decent chance.
Another popular transfer this week was Wilson with a nice batch of fixtures starting on the weekend, but he blanked despite 3 shots and a goal ruled out for offside – no need to panic yet.
His fellow cheap striker, Rodriguez, was benched however as new loan signing Sturridge made his first start for West Brom.
Kenedy started again for Newcastle and almost picked up the assist while he also had one good opportunity saved. He looks a nice bench option at 4.7mil
Still no Mahrez for Leicester and there is no timeline on his return to the team. That didn’t stop Vardy scoring and his absence could present opportunities to others such as Diabate. Iheanacho got a rare league start and posted some decent stats to go with the assist for his side’s only goal. The lack of clean sheet would’ve greatly disappointed some managers, but the Foxes run-in looks promising, though if you are looking for a cheap defender, Simpson appears more secure than Chilwell.
That concludes the GW26 review. Feel free to post any questions or feedback in the comments section or you can find me on Twitter.
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